Nine of the 27 countries in the European Union have voiced opposition to a proposed new law that would punish companies that don't reserve a minimum of 40 percent of their corporate board seats for women. Currently, only 13.7 percent of EU board seats are held by women, and this law aims to address that uneven statistic.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, and Britain were the countries that wrote to the European Commission to express their opposition. While they agree with the motives behind the law and understand that women representation on corporate boards must be addressed, they feel that the way to do so is not for the EU to oppose umbrella sanctions on all companies in their jurisdiction. Rather, the countries argue, each individual government should develop their own way to combat the problem. Countries in the EU that are suffering economically fear that this is not an appropriate time to further regulate businesses.
Vice president of the European Commission Viviane Reding has been calling for change in this area for over a year, and is pushing this plan because nations have not taken necessary measures to solve the problem. The law could be killed before it even gets off the ground, however: the nine countries that signed a letter in opposition could be enough to prevent the law from getting the weighted majority support it needs. Reding, however, feels optimistic that she will be able to push it through. "“Thankfully, European laws on important topics like this are not made by nine men in dark suits behind closed doors, but rather in a democratic process,” she said.
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